FRIDAY CANCIÓN: El Cóndor Pasa by Los Fronterizos

Hola mis amigos.  ¡Es viernes!

Welcome to today’s Friday Canción.  Today’s song is something a bit slower and more ‘traditional’ than our usual.  We’re taking a listen to Argentinian Folk music, through a song that is claimed by much of Latin America… El Cóndor Pasa by Los Fronterizos.


Los Fronterizos was an Argentine musical group formed in 1953 and made up of four men.  (The original members: Gerardo López, Eduardo Madeo, Carlos Barbaran and Juan Carlos Moreno).  They hailed from Salta, a northern Argentinian province which borders Bolivia.  Their name, which translates to ‘the frontiers’ is said to be inspired by this.

During their decades long career, the band recorded over thirty records. Their genre is “Argentine Folk” in which indigenous South American elements such as the Andean flute (quena) and the indigenous drum (bombo legüero) are entwined with the powerful rhythms of Spanish Flamenco.

Take a listen…


The song opens with an ode to the last of the great Incan warriors who valiantly fought against but were conquered by the Spanish conquistadores. The legend says that the Great Incan, the Son of the Sun, can never die.  So he will return, we just don’t know when.

Here are the letras for the rest of the song:

El cóndor pasa el cielo de Perú

y el sol, hijo es, del Perú, Inca.

Volando por sobre los Andes va

como un guardián, del pueblo indio.

No hay conquistador capaz de doblar tu valor.

Inca, eres hijo del sol, de Atahualpa, el valor,

Hijo sos, del Dios, Inca.

Cuando yo vuelva a mi tierra me acompañará el dolor

de aquellos hermanos míos que sacrificaron su valor.

Vuelve, vuelve, vuelve pronto De adonde fuiste cóndor

Vuelve ya por tus guerreros. Llévame a luchar junto a vos.

Inca, eres hijo del sol, de Atahualpa, el valor

Hijo sos, del Dios, Inca.

El cóndor pasa el cielo de Perú

y el sol, hijo es, del Perú, Inca.

The condor crosses the Peruvian sky

and the sun, the son of Peru, Inca.

Flying over the Andes

as a guardian, of the Indian people.

There is no conqueror capable of doubling your strength.

Inca, you are son of the sun, of Atahualpa, the brave,

Son you are of God, Inca.

When I return to my land, pain will accompany me

of those brothers of mine who sacrificed their strength.

Come back, come back, come back soon from where you went condor

Come back for your warriors. Take me to fight with you.

Inca, you are the son of the sun, of Atahualpa, the brave, Son of God, Inca.

The condor crosses the Peruvian sky

and the sun, the son of Peru, Inca.


For some, this song may seem familiar.  Though the lyrics are quite different (not just in another language), Simon and Garfunkel released a version of El Cóndor Pasa (If I could) in 1970.



The song was originally created by Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles in 1913 and had been recorded many, many times by a range of Latino, European and North American artists, including a group by the name of Los Incas, who Simon and Garfunkel thought were the copyright holders of the song.  Lyrics and performers may change but the hauntingly beautiful instrumentals is what keeps the song recognisable.

Revolvvy and Culture Trip both have short articles talking about the history of this iconic song, which is even credited as a second national anthem in Peru.  Click on the links to find out more!


Have a great weekend!


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  1. pick1solution April 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    This is another great post. The difference between the two recordings is fascinating. The older recording had more feeling and emotion. Simon and Garfunkel were OK but not here. Thank you for sharing. I learn a lot about these beautiful Cultures. I use plural because the are as one very diverse and wide in scope. Great read. John.

    1. K D April 10, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      The melody is so haunting. And it’s crazy how many versions there are of it. That said, the beauty is present in each one. You are so right about the many cultures present in the region! Thanks for stopping by John.

  2. Henry Lewis April 5, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    I was very familiar with the Simon and Garfunkel version–it always had a sad feeling to me–but I had no knowledge of the song’s origins. The Los Incas version feels lighter and brighter. Thanks for the background info!

    1. K D April 10, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      You’re welcome Henry. I also knew the Simon and Garfunkel one and was really surprised to discover just how old and well-used the song and melody are.

    2. Wilson Diaz June 1, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      The Condor Pasa song is 100% Peruvia music; the author is my uncle Daniel Alomias Robles. And later, an American musician group add one of the first lyrics to this beautiful Peruvian musical song.

      1. K D June 20, 2020 at 10:50 am

        It is so beautiful. I just kept playing it over and over the first time I discovered it.

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